JERUSALEM (VINnews) — Journalist Sivan Rahav-Meir who recently spent a year in the US, said that while on a lecture tour in Memphis, she requested to meet Rav Nota Greenblatt, who passed away last week at the age of 96. “They told me that in this city lives one of the last people to have met Rabbi Kook who can tell about it as well” she recalls.
“Thus I merited meeting 96-year-old Rav Nota Greenblatt, an American Talmid Chacham and hearing in the first person the experiences he had when he met Rabbi Kook. As a sickly child, his father took him to Rabbi Kook for a bracha. He remembered that the rabbi was wearing a tallis and tefillin and took him on his knee, looked him in the eye and blessed him that he would be a Talmid Chacham and live a long life. “The second bracha was fulfilled,” Rav Nota says, adding modestly “I hope the first one as well..”
Rav Nota’s face lit up when describing Rav Kook’s Torah sermons and the night of Shavuos when he taught Torah from 11 to 4 without a break and then how he walked to the Kotel with hundreds of people for shacharis prayers. Rav Nota remembered Rav Kook’s unique Hebrew and his communal work for the people of Israel. He even remembered the funeral of Rav Kook which went from his house to the Mount of Olives. Rav Nota, who was ten years old at the time, described the entire procession to Meir.
Meir says that she asked him one final question: What can Jews in our time, those who never met Rav Kook, learn from all of these stories?
Rabbi Greenblatt immediately responded: “The message is that one needs to be great, honorable and with good human attributes. It is possible. We aren’t Rav Kook but certainly, one can indeed be a great person. It is not just possible, it is obligatory! There is no doubt about this.”
There is no doubt that this legacy of Rav Kook was embodied in Rav Nota, the great Torah leader and head of the Memphis Beis Din who has such a pivotal impact on the Jewish community in his region and nationwide.